Libel complaint filed by Mayor Binay upheld
A Makati City court on Monday ordered the arrest of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th in connection with a libel case filed against him by dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 142 Judge Dina Teves found probable cause to try the case and issued a warrant of arrest against Trillanes, according to Maricel Cairo, Makati RTC Clerk of Court.
The senator was slapped with the libel complaint for claiming that two justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) received P50 million in exchange for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping implementation of a suspension order against the mayor.
Binay, in his complaint filed in April 2015, described Trillanes’ allegations as “malicious.”
The Binay camp earlier said Trillanes could not invoke parliamentary immunity because he made the baseless allegations outside Congress.
“Mr. Trillanes cannot cower behind the doctrine of parliamentary immunity. His malicious and scurrilous accusations regarding the fictitious bribery charges against Mayor Binay were made in public, outside the halls of the Senate,” Claro Certeza, Binay’s legal counsel, said.
Certeza noted that Trillanes did not make the accusations during a congressional inquiry.
“Moreover, it was not made in relation to the discharge of his functions as a senator. It is apparent that his motivation is to besmirch the reputation of the Binay family and destroy the integrity of the judiciary. He must be held accountable,” he said.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said Trillanes has immunity from arrest when Congress is in session.
However, if Trillanes fails to post bail by next week when Congress adjourns, he can be arrested.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said policemen will arrest Trillanes once the police agency gets a copy of the warrant.
“We are ready to serve the warrant of arrest once we receive it. As of now we still don’t have a copy of the warrant of arrest against Senator Trillanes,” PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said in a news briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“We don’t have any choice but to serve [the warrant]to the accused [whether]he is a senator or a government official,” Mayor added.
Trillanes said he is ready to face the charges filed against him.
The senator’s lawyer, Reynaldo Robles, said his client will voluntarily submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court when he arrives from a trip abroad.
“We have not received our official copy of the investigating prosecutor’s resolution, but if it is true that she [Judge Teves] recommended the filing of an information for libel in court, Sen. Trillanes will readily face the charges against him in court,” Robles added.
“Unfortunately, Sen. Trillanes is on official trip abroad attending an international forum,” he said.
The senator, Robles added, is considering filing a motion for reconsideration at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“Needless to state, this is without prejudice to the senator’s right to file a motion for reconsideration or even appeal said resolution to the Department of Justice, if warranted by the circumstances,” the lawyer said.
Robles noted that he is confident that any attempt to intimidate his client will not succeed.
“In 2003, Sen. Trillanes was jailed for exposing anomalies in the government. I believe he is ready to face any consequence, including facing malicious cases and possible imprisonment, just to let the people know the truth regarding the massive corruption in Makati,” he said.
In a text message, Trillanes affirmed his readiness to continue his personal crusade to expose the truth about the massive anomalies in Makati.
“If the Binay family believes that I can be intimidated and threatened from exposing them, they are badly mistaken. I will do everything I can to make sure that plunderers will not rule this country again,” the senator said.
“Hindi ko hahayaan ang mga magnanakaw na mamuno ng ating bansa [I will not allow thieves to lead our country],” he added.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA AND ANTHONY VARGAS